Barclaycard Review: Arrival™ World MasterCard® Annual Fee vs. No Annual Fee

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The Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® is hands-down one of the best credit cards around, but there’s a lot of curiosity and confusion around which is the more valuable of the two: the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® (with an $89 Annual Fee) vs. the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® (with No Annual Fee).

With the rare exception described below, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is a considerably better rewards credit card that enables you to earn more money back at a quicker rate.

It’s natural to gravitate toward the card with no annual fee, but with the significant difference in opportunities to earn points, the $89 annual-fee card pays for itself — fast. With this dual Barclaycard review, I’ll explain why by comparing the two cards in more detail.

The Differences Between the Two Cards

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The first major difference between these two cards is what you get when you sign up. The second is the rate at which you earn rewards.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases

Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®:

  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that’s enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on travel and dining and 1X miles on all other purchases

Finding The Differences

With the annual fee card, since you earn 2x points regardless of what type of purchase you make, you will always enjoy the peace of mind knowing you’re effectively maximizing your rewards potential. On the flip side, with the no fee card, you’ll need to consider the fact that only travel & dining purchases will reap the most benefits.

A 4-Year Comparison: 2x on All Purchases vs. 1x on All Purchases

This comparison is based on the following assumptions:

  • Year 1: $10,000 in travel & dining purchases were made in the first 90 days, then $5,000 in other miscellaneous purchases were made for the remainder of the year.
  • Years 2, 3, and 4: $10,000 in travel & dining purchases and $10,000 in other miscellaneous purchases were made each year.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

1 Year 2 Years 3 Years 4 Years
Sign-up bonus $400 N/A N/A N/A
Rewards earned $300 $700 $1100 $1500
Annual fee -$0 -$89 -$89 -$89
Cumulative earnings $700 $1011 $1322 $1633

 

Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®

1 Year 2 Years 3 Years 4 Years
Sign-up bonus $200 N/A N/A N/A
Rewards earned $250 $550 $850 $1150
Annual fee -$0 -$0 -$0 -$0
Cumulative earnings $450 $750 $1050 $1350

 

Key Takeaways

Clearly, despite the $89 annual fee, the annual card still garners you more rewards every single year.

The annual fee card is even more valuable if you spend little on travel & dining purchases since those are the only two categories that earn you double points with the no fee.

When you should get the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®

The only instance when you should get the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® is if the total amount of purchases you make would earn you less than $89 in rewards. With the annual fee card, the annual fee is waived the first year and the $200 sign-up bonus (which is $200 more than the no fee card) compensates for the $89 annual fee for two+ years, but you have to spend extra to get it. However, if you don’t spend enough over the long term, getting the no fee card makes more sense.

As an example: If you spend $4,400 in one year on only travel & dining purchases with the no fee card, your rewards earnings would be $88 which doesn’t compensate for the $89 annual fee if you had the annual fee card.
Don’t forget, you also get 10% of your miles back when you redeem for travel

  • In the above Year 2 example, if you spend $20,000 for the entire year, on top of the 40,000 points ($400 in rewards) with the annual fee card you’ll also get 4,000-mile head start for your next trip.
  • Just book your travel through any airline, hotel, discount travel engine.
  • Redeem your miles for statement credits toward all or a part of your travel purchases within the last 90 days.
  • To redeem, go into your statement online and select the travel purchases of your choice to redeem your points.

Big Benefits from Both Barclaycard Credit Cards

  • No mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel
  • Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
  • Book the travel you want – airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase
  • Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
  • Reimbursement for expenses if your baggage is delayed or misdirected
  • Trip cancellation/interruption coverage
  • MasterCard(R) Global Service with 24-hour emergency assistance

If you’re ready to reap the benefits of cash back and free miles, sign up for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.

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About this resource:

Created on: January 28, 2014

Updated on: November 20, 2014

Edited by: Mike Jelinek

Research by: Sarah Ban

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  1. Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the issues.
    It was truly informative. Your website is useful. Thank you
    for sharing!

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